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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nexus - One

Google, the information titan and behemoth that graciously provides me the free working space to host this blog, announced its new Android 2.1 mobile phone this week. I have mixed emotions about the release. I had no knowledge of it when I bought it's simpler country cousin, the droid several months ago, a piece of hardware that is now looking so, well, 2009.

The tangible benefits to the new phone seem fairly benign, more text recognition, minor bells and whistles added. Snapdragon processor and a removal of the physical keyboard, something I would personally hate. (The flat droid keyboard requires a fingernail, while my old blackberry was more of a fingertip affair.) Touchscreens do not give enough of a firm reaction for serious typers or texters.

It strikes me as a bit odd that the company licenses its OS and then tries to compete with its supposed partners, in my case Motorola. I would have liked to know about this phone prior to signing my new two year agreement with Verizon.

But the other thing about this product that sort of frosts me as a sci fi buff is the name, Nexus One. The late Philip Dick was one of my two favorite authors along with Roger Zelazny. The Nexus One was the name of his android class in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? You know, the book that Ridley Scott fashioned the seminal movie hit Bladerunner out of.

When I power up my droid, George Lucas gets a little residual for coining the word for Star Wars. But the deceased Philip Dick is dead, he has no juice, and his intellectual property rights get stomped on.  Nexus One is such a clear rip off sobriquet for an android. Couldn't they have used a little creativity and came up with something novel?

I would have hoped that Google could show a little more class and respect for one of the true visionaries in twentieth century literature. They started out as a very cool company but after the fiasco in China and now this, you have to wonder if they are losing their soul.